Much as I despise admitting it, words don’t always come to me as quickly as they once did. There’s nothing like having a word on the tip of your tongue, then have it dart away and zip around your brain like a fly trying to dodge a swatter. Recently I endured a particularly bad bout of what-is-that-damn-word-I-had-it-a-minute-ago-and-it-went-away-and-then-came-back-and-then-went-away-again-itis. The little devil of a word taunted me, hovering at the cusp of memory and then darting off again. I tried thesaurus.com to find words like it but none of them were right. I tried all manner of writer and mystery thesauruses, and nothing landed. In desperation, I finally tried this:
1. I made the face I felt expressed the #$!@* word I was looking for. I held the face and the feeling for a few minutes. The word grew closer… but wasn’t quite there.
2. I took pictures of my face expressing the feeling of the word, or at least what I could approximate, and studied the photos…
3. I closed my eyes, made the face, and felt the word again.
Finally, FINALLY, it came to me! The word I was looking for was “rueful.” Do you see it in these photos? Maybe a little? I know, it’s kind of nutty. Or… brilliant? As I was going through this I couldn’t decide if I was on to something or losing my mind. All I can say is the process of feeling the emotion of the word, creating a visual, and linking the two up got me out of my word-fly-swatting stasis.
It’s for sure a time-consuming process for one li’l ol’ word. Still, we all know that feeling when we want the exact right one and nothing else will do. So at least I have a fallback in the search for it.
Let’s just hope that after this laborious journey, I used the word correctly … she wrote ruefully.
Readers, have you created your own way of finding a word or an item or anything?